Experiencing sexual harassment is one thing, but witnessing one can put you in a difficult situation. You may not know what the next step should be. If you witness sexual harassment at your workplace, one thing you must not do is remain quiet. By saying something, you can bring a real difference in the life of the victim as well as everyone else in the workplace.
Most bystanders feel that they should not intervene in an activity that does not concern them. But, intervening is important to prevent worse behaviors in the future. Learning how to act in such a situation can give you the courage to act. If your loved one has been a target of sexual harassment, click here to receive legal help.
Steps to take after witnessing sexual harassment in the workplace
- Confront the perpetrator.
If you have witnessed someone sexually harassing someone else, you should confront the abuser. The victim is usually too scared and traumatized to face them again, so it is crucial that you do. It is recommended to do this only if you do not have a fear of retaliation.
Talk to them about what you saw and ask for an explanation. Do not talk in a tone that sounds like blaming, but speak to them from an educational point of view. Tell them what they did was wrong and should not be repeated.
- Document the incident.
It is usually recommended that the victim start collecting evidence immediately after the incident. However, do not rely on the victim alone to gather evidence; start looking for them yourself. You may take pictures and videos of items that may have broken during the incident as the victim tried to escape.
Workplaces also have surveillance cameras in various corners. Check if the harassment area has one and request a copy from your employer. Remember only to seek evidence if it is safe for the victim and you to do so at that moment or wait for the perpetrator to exit the scene.
- Approach the victim with compassion.
The last thing a sexual harassment victim needs is victim-blaming. When approaching them after the accident, make sure you do not say anything that might make them think that they were at fault. No case of harassment has ever occurred because of the victim.
Do not expect the victim to open up when you first approach them. They may feel scared to share the incident with you for fear of retaliation. Simply be empathetic and tell them that you want to report the incident.